The shape of screens to come

Free-Form Display Prototype (Sharp)

Free-Form Display Prototype (Sharp)

Relaxnews

, Last Updated: 2:47 PM ET

A new tech breakthrough by Sharp could soon lead to colour displays of all shapes and sizes across a host of devices from smartwatches to car instrument panels.

The primary reason why a tablet or smartphone's LCD display is rectangular is because its bezel, the edge that runs around a screen and that houses its drive circuit -- the thing that powers the screen -- has to be a certain size and uniformity in order to work.

However, that is all set to change. Sharp has found a way of integrating the drive circuit into the display's pixels and the result is something the company is calling the Free Form Display. It means the bezel around the edge can be tiny and it doesn't have to conform to a rectangle or square. Any geometric shape is potentially possible.

So round or elliptical faces for smartwatches, triangular tablets for gaming and a host of possibilities for car companies, the area where Sharp thinks the biggest initial interest will come from.

Using a free form display, a car maker could keep the analogue, classical shape of a dashboard with circles for the speedometer and odometer, and fit a screen around them, or use the same technology to replicate any classical in-car shape as a display.

To this extent, Sharp has already built a prototype free form screen for automotive use. As for when we can expect the first oval display wearables and shapely digital dashboards, Sharp simply says that it hopes to put the displays into production at the earliest possible date.


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